A Taste Of Salvation
Normally, the place of cliques, lovers, the drunk and destitute,
The foot traffic passing through (some of it the men in blue),
It was the grassy showpiece center of town
Surrounded by the tall glassy new office structures
The old, monstrous, severe gray stone of the churches
The compact, utilitarian blocks of the university,
This could have been a mid city oasis with gazebo and pond,
The lush and welcoming green of trees and grass
Holding off with its confined and shaped nature
The implacable, spirit crushing stone and concrete giants
Looking to stomp it out. And yet the ant-like are drawn to it
Swarming over this green patch hungrily
As if it were a spot of sugar pulling them in
As they greedily get their fix
Surrounded by the bloodless towers.
And though normally quiet (the birds providing the song) -
No more tranquil a spot offered in amongst the seething traffic ?
The band strikes up on this celebratory Sunday
(The warm lazy day of rest cause enough)
Local good ol' boys decidedly unserious
Loosening up the crowd with laughing
Banter before moving them with well-tuned chops,
The young and old, moneyed and poor, black and white
Dancing, smiling, singing, laughing
Eating, drinking, hooting, yelling out requests,
The oasis come fully alive, a verdant and life-crawling heart
Beating at the ugly and dumb metropolis,
The Frankenstein barriers erected by another kind of green.
Such a celebration that the law's presence is required
Stiff, shirt popping, steroid sweating seriousness
With the menace of gleaming black boots, clubs and guns
In the bright sunshine, in amongst the happy smiling faces,
A sobering, fearful appearance done to the unyielding Letter,
A tight-sphinctered, tax-trained troop tramping through.
Yet the party's on with an understood "screw you."
They get it on in the sun's heat and with the rocking beat,
Grins that could only be called neighborly
Beaming through the ever gathering crowd,
The band thriving now in the returned energy.
The Music Vessel (Flying a Bit of the Past on the Mast)
Memories sail with music of a certain time
(When music first meant something)
Bands, songs, those knowing lyrics
Seemingly written just for you
All stored away now in the cargo hold
Yet there for the calling with the right breeze
A tune run up the mast, flying colors
Of youthful brightness, flare, boldness,
A rocking sound for sure, telling stories:
Who you were "hanging" with
What you were "in to"
What you "stood for"
(If you truly stood for anything
When hardly knowing yourself).
A young, naïve, hormone driven time
Awash in cases of beer
Made hazy by pot smoke
Made bearable by fits of laughter
Representing pleased defiance.
The music playing through it all
In a trying time of expectations
Not your own, your mind probed and prodded
By the numerous experts in and out
Of your days, your years, early in the voyage,
And responding to "well meant" advice
(To hell with the sails)
Wanting to gun the engine
(Hail, hail, rock and roll)
Send up some rollers, rock the ship,
Dance on deck in unrestrained abandon
Under your own navigation
Pushing along wildly on the seas
Into "god forbid" uncharted waters,
No longer sailing respectably
But deliberately (perhaps maliciously)
Plowing toward the future
Full throttle.
               Let Them Have It
He's through fighting the overwhelming influence
Something undefined in flesh and blood
Something that's gotten beyond the individual,
A pervasive, sense-deadening flood.
Pulling back for sanity's sake
He won't engage that delusion anymore
With his comically ineffective arsenal,
He'll look for his exit door
A portal to his private wonderland
Concocted not on video screens
But with his own chemical brew
(He always had the ways and means).
It's best to leave them with their toys
Their temporary, kidlike excitement
Let the swayed carry on in style,
For isn't that enlightenment?
            On troubled mornings, it's good to feel the boy in him, still there under all the age and ugliness, under the long years and protective layers, knowing he still has some of that original treasure left, can still look at things wide-eyed with genuine curiosity, can still be touched by things and kind in thought, can still truly communicate with others, isn't left here to fester in bad feeling, a true loss. Though he often forgets or isn't aware (carrying on with business as usual) that it's in there, just another uninspired piece of meat dully going through some routine or other, and often even managing to look passable while doing it. It isn't hard to pull the act off on the surface.
            Yet in the dark in the early morning, already turning with his thoughts, going over things yet again, it is one little thing to hold onto, one thing to actually have faith in, for his own sake. It is a way to start out a day, with no knowing how many more there will be. What more does a man have, can be glad he has, after getting down beneath that surface? Down to where he once greeted the morning with an eager, open face, knowing no time, no schedule, having no sense of fate.
                    In Action Again
The day falls to intoxicated, boisterous, stormy war,
Early the rhythm is determined, joy in the pounding blood
Symphonies, cacophonies, the pitch already raised
To risky proportions, yet how long has it been
Since it was full sail, since you plunged on the day
In all-out delirium, coming out of the chute
On that monster bronco, thumping ass,
Taking no prisoners?
Too damn long. 

© M. Blake